Film Review of Apocalypse Now – Focus on Lighting

Write a film review of at least three pages on Apocalypse Now focusing on these three questions:

          1) How is color used in this film? Do you think the color “palette” used in the film means something? (One thing to look for is the use of black in the film). Vittorio Storaro, the film’s legendary cinematographer, used a “dye-transfer” process to get bold colors, but also used different cameras with different film stocks to create different looks for the four main acts in the film. Do you see or sense a difference?

          2) Differentiate between “hard” and “soft” lighting, as well as the difference between a high-key and low-key lighting set-up, and explain how these four ways of lighting effects may or may not have been employed in this film. What do you think Coppola was trying to get across to the viewer in the ways he and Storaro lit and photographed his scenes.

          3) What does it all mean? There have been numerous cuts of this film, and the ending of the theatrical release is not what Coppola had intended after he had seen it and audiences interpreted it differently (the issue involves when the “end credits” roll, believe it or not). Do you think the meaning of the film depends on what the director intended it to mean? (There are numerous sources on the problems this film had — it took years to make this film. One great source is Hearts of Darkness, a documentary about the making of this film. After seeing it, you will come away feeling that even if someone gave you a fortune, you’d never make a film in your life.)

IMPORTANT: PLEASE WATCH THE FILM. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE FILM, LET ME KNOW BEFOREHAND. I WILL BE ABLE TO TELL IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE FILM.

YOU MAY USE AS MANY SOURCES AS YOU LIKE TO HELP WITH THE PAPER. JUST MAKE SURE THEY ARE PROPERLY CITED.

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